Like I said earlier, the term is used by many in a derogatory way toward Hispanics whether or not they crossed the river. Have you ever actually heard someone use the term toward a white person? I honestly never have. Only toward people with brown skin. It may have started with the people crossing the river, but has become much more than that. I stand by what I said. More often than not, it's used in a racial context.Not racist. You contradicted yourself. If a Mexican National of German heritage or a a Mexican National with Chinese heritage swims the Rio Grande to enter the US illegally they are both wetbacks. Has nothing to do with their race so it can't be racists.